Sigh. Doldrums. I happened to have the tracker open when this…

Sigh. Doldrums.

I happened to have the tracker open when this update came in, and I actually laughed out loud. “Dongfeng is going backwards.” My wife, from the desk next to me, said, “You wouldn’t be laughing if you were on the boat.” Which was a good point.

Vestas is way to the east, and working their way farther east. They’re still behind, but their track is less squiggly than those of the other boats. That means one thing: wind.

If you hover over each of the little boat icons in the tracker to see their current boatspeed, there’s this:

  • ADOR: 4 kts
  • Brunel: 2 kts
  • Dongfeng: 3 kts
  • Alvimedica: 2 kts
  • SCA: 3 kts
  • Mapfre: 6 kts
  • Vestas: 6 kts

Six knots isn’t very fast. It would be a brisk walk on land. For a boat that can surf at 30 it doesn’t sound like much. But for competitors who take infinite pains to eke out a tenth of a knot advantage, going 50%, 100%, or even 300% faster than the other boats is huge. At the moment Mapfre and Vestas are crushing the competition, and they’re not having to use up much racecourse to do it.

It might not last. But at least for now, the eastern strategy looks like it has a chance.

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Tags: vor, volvo ocean race, team mapfre, team vestas.

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